Who can be guardian of a child?
The parents of a child are natural guardians of a child. Both the father and the mother are considered the guardians of their own children. This can become complicated if the child is born out of marriage. A father may need to establish paternity rights to be considered the guardian of a child.
What if parents cannot care for their child?
Although parents are the natural guardians of a child, a guardian will be appointed for the child under three circumstances. First, a guardian will be appointed if the parents are no longer living. Second, a guardian will be appointed if the parents are found to be “unfit, unwillling, or unable” to serve as guardians for their own child. Finally, a guardian will be appointed if the parent’s rights have been terminated.
Is the child 14 or older?
If a child is fourteen years old or older, the court will appoint as guardian the person chosen by the child. The court will only appoint a guardian, though, if the court decides the person is a suitable guardian. The court will give deference to the wishes of the child who is fourteen or older, but the court will not ignore its own judgment on whether the person is fit to serve as guardian.
Did the parents appoint someone in their will?
If the child’s parents are both deceased, the court will look to see if the parents had a will. Parents can appoint someone in their will to serve as the guardian for their children. The court will give deference to the wishes of the parents as expressed in their will. Again, though, the court will also decide if the person appointed in the will is fit to serve as a guardian.
Who else can serve as guardian?
If none of the categories above apply, the court will appoint a guardian on its own. The court will appoint “the most suitable person who is willing to serve and whose appointemnt serves the best interests of the child to a stable and permanent placement.”
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Guardianship lawyer Tim McCurdy
Guardianship requires a lawyer who will listen to you. You need a partner to help guide you through the complex guardianship process. Tim McCurdy will take the time to learn about your unique situation to help look for a solution.